Friday, May 18, 2012

Consolidating Districts

Let's talk about consolidating school districts again, because Mahoney just will not let this one go despite the fact that people who understand how the districts operate financially think this is a terrible idea.

Yes, districts are having to raise taxes to balance their budgets and no one likes high taxes, but let's not forget that they have been left with little choice thanks to state-wide budget cuts to education in what some consider to be Corbett's attempt to break up the unions. No matter what his intentions, he is ignoring other options and is taking away from one of the most important factors in life. And in Fayette County, education is crucial. Kids here already face huge problems with their home life, and with the right tools and guidance, these kids could actually rise above, break the various cycles they may be trapped in, and become successful. How is that supposed to happen if the districts don't have the money to do it? When the state takes their money away, where else are they supposed to get it?

Mahoney is making himself look like the hero who presented this amazing option while the county districts are the villains who are raising taxes all while ignoring logistics and the desires of the people--aside from low taxes, of course. He sounds like a hurt child saying, "But no one listened to me!"Ironically, all this makes him sound more self-interested rather than operating on behalf of the districts, which begs the question--why does he want this so bad? Sure, there's the issue of saving money and relieving taxpayers, but with his tone and the way he's going about this consolidation do make me wonder.

And then there are all the other points I made before:

  • The stimulus money in these discussions is irrelevant because the districts were told how to spend it, which in some cases meant they were spending money on things they didn't need just because that was their only option. Ed Rendell made that decision. Instead, politicians should be letting the districts spend the money where they need it most. That would've done more good both financially and academically, I'm sure.
  • Consolidation wouldn't solve the problem of people losing their jobs. In fact, it would kill a lot of jobs, but then again, I doubt very many people would want the job of overseeing the various aspects of over 40 schools countywide.
  • The consolidation plan would potentially close schools, which is in danger of happening anyway in the case of Zach Connell in Connellsville. So at this point, how much would consolidation really help? If you want to try to save Zach Connell, the board is having a meeting at the VoTech May 23 at 6:00.
Get over it, Mahoney. This is a terrible idea, most people in this county know it, and you won't take no for an answer.


  1. Got to love the politicians right? They think they're some kind of genius with a novel idea and won't accept any criticism to their "inventions" whatsoever...

  2. As a public school teacher, I am not opposed to a countywide school system if only for evenly allocated resources. Countywide districts work in many states; but because they are a "foreign" and unfamiliar idea, then they must be terrible, evil, communism, socialism, liberalism, [insert absurd adjective/concept here] etc. Perhaps Mahoney isn't approaching this inevitable beast in the best manner. And I certainly do not have a solution; however, we have a few years left with Darth Corbett, and something has got to give.

    On a side note, I do not think it's fair to generalize that "Kids here already face huge problems with their home life," as there are countless exceptions to this, many of which are my dearest family and friends in UT. I do agree that education is the most priceless tool we can provide future generations, regardless of their district or county.

    1. It does have its advantages, for sure. In fact, in some ways, Fayette County could really benefit from it, Albert Gallatin especially, who I believe is still the poorest district in the county. Another interesting factor that just occurred to me is the difference in pay and what that would mean for teachers and administrators. It could be good or bad depending on the person, because a while ago I found a chart that shows huge differences between how much everyone makes in each district.

      I've seen huge exceptions to home problems. Most of the kids I went to school with were exceptions, but at the same time, there are entire schools with terrible reputations. I guess what I mean is some schools need all the help they can get.